It was as if Christmas came early to the folks who work in the kitchen at City Rescue Mission’s McDuff Avenue campus.
Thanks to a $130,000 grant from Wells Fargo to completely refurbish its kitchen, CRM will be able to continue to serve 600 hot meals per day to the 200 clients it has in its drug and alcohol recovery program, said CRM Executive Director Penny Kievet.
“This is a special day. We are so excited and tearful and heartfelt because our friends from Wells Fargo have made possible a brand-new kitchen for us here,” said Kievet during a ribbon-cutting ceremony March 22. “We make do. We don’t get a lot of new stuff, and for us to have an organization recognize that what we do is transform lives at City Rescue Mission is amazing and wonderful. This is not just about a new kitchen, it’s about making new life. We are excited and thankful.”
Also speaking at the ribbon-cutting ceremony was Mark Middlebrook, regional manager, North and Central Florida, Wells Fargo Investment and Fiduciary Services, who noted since Wells Fargo started its NeighborhoodLIFT program in 2012, it has committed more than $442 million to support the revitalization of communities across the country, helping to create more than 20,000 homeowners in 67 housing markets through its efforts.
In 2017, the Wells Fargo Foundation and the bank’s national NeighborhoodLIFT initiative gave CRM a $80,000 grant to restore the nonprofit’s refrigeration system, but decided to grant an additional $50,000 the next year to refurbish the entire kitchen with new sinks, stoves, dishwashers, flooring, lighting and paint after realizing how dire the need was, said Valerie Jenkins, community development officer for Wells Fargo.
“For them to continue to serve some of our most vulnerable citizens, they would have needed to improve the kitchen,” said Jenkins. “This investment is part of Wells Fargo’s NeighborhoodLIFT effort.”
CRM christened its new kitchen with a feast comprised of ribs, chicken, beans, salad and spinach casserole cooked by students in CRM’s Life Builder’s Program. The luncheon was served by Wells Fargo volunteers.